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When working on the command line, I often change to sudo using sudo -i. However, my working directory changes automatically to /root. I never want to go there; I want to stay where I was! How can I achieve this?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

You could use sudo -s instead, it would not change your current directory to /root, though some of your environment variables would not be those of root.

This page from the Ubuntu Forums has a nice summary:

Summary of the differences found   
                                               corrupted by user's 
                HOME=/root      uses root's PATH     env vars
sudo -i         Y               Y[2]                 N
sudo -s         N               Y[2]                 Y
sudo bash       N               Y[2]                 Y
sudo su         Y               N[1]                 Y

This page from from Ubuntu's documentation has much more background information on sudo.

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Beautiful! Thanks a bunch, simple but great little overview! –  user Jun 13 '12 at 23:41
@user1162541 Happy to be able to help. –  Levon Jun 13 '12 at 23:42

If you want to use su, there is a way to stay in the same directory.

su - <user> -c "cd `pwd`; bash"

What's going on here:

  • su - <user> = login as
  • -c which means "run a command in the new 's shell
  • -c "cd `pwd`" the command we give is to switch to the current direcotory (pwd) - but because we use the backticks, the pwd command is evaluated before we run the su command so that we actually switch to the directory we're in NOW as the old user. The only problem here is that the new shell exits right after running the command, so then we add:
  • -c "cd `pwd`; bash" which means "run bash (new shell) after running the cd command and the bash shell doesn't exit until we log out of it.
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